Course Title: Design for Sustainability Studio

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Design for Sustainability Studio

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013


City Campus


320H Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017


City Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 1 2024


Brunswick Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021

Course Coordinator: Stuart McFarlane

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Please email

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The Design for Sustainability Studio introduces you to design practices and principles through a series of individual and team-based design projects. You will explore designedly ways of researching and reporting the environmental and social impacts of design decisions, production, use, and the end of life of products. These methods include: life cycle thinking and assessment; eco design; and, the design of product-service-systems. Through various phases of research, concept development, visualisation, digital and physical modelling, and critique, your design projects will culminate in detailed design proposals.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

Apply analytical, critical, creative and strategic thinking to industrial design problems and research within complex and unfamiliar contexts and concerns.

Collaborate with other specialists and key stakeholders on design problems on multi-disciplinary projects in diverse settings.

Articulate complex design ideas to diverse audiences through an advanced and adaptable repertoire of communication strategies and technologies.

Generate innovative approaches to design problems and solutions, with a criticality and openness to the perspectives and needs of others in a situation.

Advocate through design practice the improvement of the conditions and wellbeing of people, cultural practices and environments.

Reflect on own learning and the efficacy of design decisions made, adapting to needs and issues as they arise, and continuously seeking improvement.

Demonstrate through practice-based design research an advanced knowledge of the socio-technical, environmental and economic eco-systems of industrial design both locally and globally.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

1) Approach complex issues of the social and environmental implications of industrial design decisions in an analytical, creative and robust manner.

2) Articulate your design ideas through a series of mediums including drawings, prototypes, public presentations and reports.

3) Critically analyse the role of design, and reflect on the implications of your own activities as a designer and consumer, in relation to the social and environmental imperatives of contemporary design practice.

4) Demonstrate creative and strategic design thinking through a rapid acquisition and application of specialist knowledge and skills within design studio projects.

Overview of Learning Activities

Delivered in a design studio format, you will actively learn through a variety of face-to-face, self-directed and online activities. This course immerses you in specific aspects of the discipline, its methods and practices through doing design projects. These projects involve a range of planned learning experiences including: individual and group problem solving; sketch ideation and the iterative development of design concepts; prototyping for the purpose of further refining propositions; realizing material design artefacts within workshop environments: and, presenting and reporting on individual and collective learning. The design studio format gives you the opportunity to explore and apply social, contextual , technical, and theoretical design issues in depth and through a variety of approaches, principles, real and simulated situations, and practical constraints.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. To effectively participate in coursework, either on or away from campus, you are advised to obtain (as a minimum) the following:

  • Drawing Supplies including visual diaries, pens, pencils, markers and ancillary products and consumables.
  • Personal Protective Equipment including protective eye-wear, ear plugs, a dust jacket, and closed toe safety shoes
  •  Prototyping Supplies including a 150mm steel ruler, a high quality craft knife and ancillary products, materials and consumables.
  •  Design and Documentation Equipment including a personal computer of an appropriate specification, course specific software, a digital camera and a mobile phone.

    When on campus you will have access to and will utilise the School of Design workshop facilities, specialist computer labs and software, and 2D and 3D printing facilities.

    Course specific resources such as readings, reference lists, access to specialist software, video demonstrations and class notes will be provided online.

    There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Design Appreciation, 15% CLO1

Assessment Task 2: Design Sprint, 20% CLO2, CLO3, CLO4

Assessment Task 3: Design Challenge, 20%, CLO2, CLO3, CLO4

Assessment Task 4: Design Project, 45%, CLO2, CLO3, CLO4

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.